Reading #1 – Luke 4
Reading #2 – Psalms 72
Reading #3 – Proverbs 31
Reading #4 – Isaiah 50
Reading #5 – 1 Chronicle 27
1 Chronicle 27 – Joab and the Census. This was the census that Joab was sent out to take. The Devil prompted David and without counseling with his advisors nor G_d, he sent Joab out to take. When you consider that each month a commander and 24000 men were on duty, the size of the Kingdom was massive. According to Mosaic Law, for a census to be sanctioned by the Lord G_d, each man had to give a ransom for his life (Exodus 30:12) which was not part of Joab’s instructions. In the end, the Lord sent his Angel of Destruction to decimate the nation. When David saw the destruction, he repented and took responsibility for his actions (2 Samuel 24).
Psalms 72 – Solomon’s Inauguration. David was blessed to see his son ascend to the throne of Israel and Judah something no other king would be privileged to witness. David’s prayer for his son was that he would walk in the path of righteousness all of his days and would seek the counsel of the Lord. Help him judge your people in the right way; let the poor always be treated fairly. May the mountains yield prosperity for all, and may the hills be fruitful (2-3). To David, these were not mere words or just something that “sounded good” it was an earnest prayer and desire for Solomon. For a kingdom to be successful, the ruler must pray for his people and his people pray for the king, the king and the people must walk in obedience to the LORD; if this is not done, either end of the deal will break down causing problems. Long live the king! May the gold of Sheba be given to him. May the people always pray for him and bless him all day long (15). As with all prayers, there is an unspoken alternative prayer and it comes into being when the king and the people walk in disobedience. Praise the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone does such wonderful things. Praise his glorious name forever! Let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and amen (18-19)! The use of the “double Amen” (19) was a link to the eternal covenant with G_d or, standing on G_d’s promise (2 Samuel 7:12-13).
Proverbs 31 – Pearls For Life in an Ungodly World. In the first half of this segment, king Lemuel (probably Solomon) recited his mother’s admonishment. The second half was the credit he gave to his mother; this part is often recited on “Mother’s Day”. The king’s mother gave all that she had to teach her son and prepare him for the throne this was a “precious gift” what the king did with the gift showed either his appreciation or a “slap in the face.” O my son, O son of my womb, O son of my vows, do not waste your strength on women, on those who ruin kings (2-3). Although the king had absolute power over the kingdom, he established the law in the kingdom, and falling under his judgment meant certain death; yet, having absolute power meant also being accountable for his actions. The king’s decisions, though, should always be “should I” not “Can I” and this goes for us today as well. Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice (8-9).
Isaiah 50 – The Lord’s Obedient Servant. When we sin, we open the door for G_d’s alternate plan and that is our downfall. Israel and Judah from the time they entered the land to the time they were exiled, the two sisters were disobedient. This admonishment reminded the people why they were having problems and why they lost their autonomy. Was your mother sent away because I divorced her? Did I sell you as slaves to my creditors? No, you were sold because of your sins. And your mother, too, was taken because of your sins (1). Everything belongs to G_d and he can give it to “whomsoever” and he can take it from them. Under King David, the nation flourished. Under Solomon, the nation thrived for a while, and then it diminished because of his actions. When the righteous are in authority and become great, the people rejoice; But when the wicked man rules, the people groan and sigh (Proverbs 29:2). The Lord’s servant is one who is obedient to the Father irrespective of “what is popular”. Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be put to shame. He who gives me justice is near. Who will dare to bring charges against me now? Where are my accusers (7-8)? When we take on the mantle of the “obedient servant” we will not be popular with the world but in G_d’s eyes we are precious and he will watch over us. Who among you fears the LORD and obeys his servant? If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the LORD and rely on your God. But watch out, you who live in your light and warm yourselves by your fires. This is the reward you will receive from me: You will soon fall in great torment (10-11).
Luke 4 – The Lord’s Servant. Jesus was tempted by the Devil after spending 40 days in the desert seeking G_d’s face for his ministry which is in line with the Word of G_d. The Devil used the opportunity to get Jesus to misuse G_d’s authority. Jesus was hungry after 40 days of fasting so the Devil prompts him to turn the rocks into bread “after all you are hungry and G_d would want you to be nourished.” Jesus’ response was “man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of G_d (Deuteronomy 8:3). The second attempt was to appeal to “proving he was G_d’s son by throwing himself off of the building to see the angels carry him safely to the ground”. Jesus responded, “it is also written you shall not tempt the Lord thy G_d” (Deuteronomy 6:16). The last attempt appealed to the desire for power “I will give you all of these kingdoms if you will simply bow down to me.” Jesus’ response “You shall worship the Lord your G_d” (Deuteronomy 6:13). After the desert experience, Jesus came onto the scene with power and authority. At first, the people were thrilled to have such a gifted speaker and would have been satisfied to hear him speak until he said some things that rattled their cages. Then he said, “You will undoubtedly quote me this proverb: ‘Physician, heal yourself’—meaning, ‘Do miracles here in your hometown like those you did in Capernaum.’ But I tell you the truth, no prophet is accepted in his hometown. “Certainly there were many needy widows in Israel in Elijah’s time when the heavens were closed for three and a half years, and a severe famine devastated the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them. He was sent instead to a foreigner—a widow of Zarephath in the land of Sidon. And many in Israel had leprosy in the time of the prophet Elisha, but the only one healed was Naaman, a Syrian (23-27).” The people were upset because Jesus returned their praise by turning a light on their motives which sparked outrage. The reference to the heathen who was healed by Elisha was scandalous “after all, the ability to heal should only for the family, not outsiders” (2 Kings 5). The people wanted a king like David who would restore the nation. Jesus came to do the will of his father and that was not in the Devil’s game plan.